U.S. Tech Firms' $150B China Revenue At Risk in Trade War

With U.S. technology companies estimated to rake in as much as $150 billion in annual revenue from China, the Trump White House isn’t expected to be too tough on its trade stance when it holds talks with Beijing.

That’s according to a new research report out of Wall Street firm Jefferies, which argued the White House wouldn’t want to cut off technology trade with China but would likely rather pursue concessions.  "We continue to believe the US will make only highly calculated moves, by factoring in the commercial interest of US tech firms," Jefferies analysts Edison Lee and Timothy Chau wrote in a research report covered by CNBC.

Apple, Intel Among Tech With Robust China Sales

The report noted that a group of 16 U.S. companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL), Intel Corp. (INTC), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Qualcomm (QCOM), combined earned 23% of their revenues or $105.5 billion from China in 2017. If Dell and HP are added to the list Jefferies said combined the tech companies had $150 billion in Chinese revenue last year. (See more: How Chip Stocks May Get Killed By a Trade War.)

Earlier Monday Reuters reported that Chinese Vice Premier Liu will conduct talks with the U.S. over trade this week. It comes after  a surprise Tweet from Trump this past weekend in which he said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to give ZTE Corp., the telecom equipment maker banned from doing business in the U.S., "a way to get back into business, fast." 

President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018

The White House under president Trump has prevented U.S. suppliers from working with ZTE for violating a sanctions settlement agreement last year that pertained to business with North Korea and Iran. Trump has complained in the past that China is stealing U.S. jobs, but in his Sunday tweet changed his message, tweeting “too many jobs in China lost.” Liu, the top aide in China for economic issues will bring the country’s Commerce Minister Zhong Shan and deputy ministers from commerce, finance, foreign affairs and from the central bank along with him to the trade meeting. (See more: Taiwan Semi Warns: Trade War Would Hurt Apple.)

China To Restart Qualcomm Review

Meanwhile in what could be in response to the Trump’s Twitter concession, Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported regulators in China have relaunched a review of Qualcomm’s proposed $44 billion acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI). Bloomberg noted that the commerce ministry in China has been urged to quicken the pace of the review of the deal and the concessions Qualcomm offered to protect local players in the country who expressed concern about it expanding its patents into mobile payments and self-driving cars.